National Bank of Poland releases new coin

The National Bank of Poland (NBP) will introduce today a new two-zlotys collector’s coin in the ‘Historic Polish Towns’ series.

The new coin to be minted in 1,100,000 pieces will commemorate the Polish town of Bielsko-Biala, south Poland, informs the Radio Information Agency (IAR).

The reverse shows the image of the Town Hall of the featured town and the obverse bears the image of the Polish white eagle, as well as a fragment of the town wall with an open gate.

A ceremony to promote the new coin will be held in Bielsko-Biala on Monday at noon.

The new two-zlotys collector’s coin will be available from all regional branches of the National Bank of Poland, the post office and selected numismatic shops across Poland.

The new coin commemorating Bielsko-Biala is the last in the ‘Historic Polish Towns’ series. The first - devoted to the town of Gniezno - was minted in September 2005.

By April 2008, 32 Polish towns have been featured on the ‘Historic Polish Towns’ series collector’s coins. The selection was made by a team of historians chaired by Professor Henryk Samsonowicz. (mj)


84 rare coins missing from SPS museum

Authorities haven't punished officials who took some of these coins


Srinagar, Mar 23: Dozens of rare coins are missing from SPS Museum at Lal Mandi, and in the absence of a proper record, there are apprehensions that hundreds of coins would have been stolen. And high on the list of suspects are some officials of the museum, according to a report submitted by a government committee.

The documents available with Greater Kashmir reveal that eight gold and 76 silver coins have been stolen from the museum.

The report prepared by the officials in 2003, after physical verification of Gold and Silver coins displayed in the museum, says, "As per a classification register, there are 62 gold coins classified under various accession numbers from serial numbers 1 to 61. Out of these only 54 are lying with present in charge of the collection, and eight gold coins are missing from the stock."

The missing gold coins, according to the officials maintaining the register, were lying with the then curator "for purpose of identification", but the register doesn't say what happened to the coins later.

Did the then curator return the coins? When this question was posed to the Director Archives, Archaeology and Museum, Qazi Khurshid Ahmad, he evaded a straight reply and uttered irrelevant comments: "I was not in the department when the report was submitted. What sin have I committed that you are filing stories against me. I know who the source behind these stories is. You can come to my office and we can talk in detail."

The deputy director, Archives, M S Zahid said he has no information about the issue. "If such a thing had happened, it should have been brought to my notice. I should have been taken into confidence. But it is news to me that some officials have conducted a physical verification of the coins. If the coins are missing, the authorities should have inquired about their whereabouts. And if they have been stolen, the authorities should file an FIR," he said.
About the missing 76 silver coins the report says, "The register maintaining record of the Silve Coins section is without pagination. "There are about 27,055 silver coins as per the General Accession Register but as per the Classification Register, there are only 27,026 in the concerned collection. This means 29 coins are missing in this section."

Another register, according to the report, shows 24421 silver coins instead of 24449, signifying that 28 silver coins are missing here as well.

The third register, according to the report, shows 19 silver coins lying with S L Raina, an official who has once been in charge of the coins section. The register is silent about these 19 silver coins.

The report says, "As already mentioned that in the 1900 AD, G B Bleazely the famous numismatist and then Accountant General of J&K State had identified more than two thousand coins. He has also prepared a list of these classified coins, a copy of the list is very much available in the reference library of SPS Museum, Srinagar. However, the list of coins prepared by him hardly coincides with the stock of silver coins housed in the Museum. Very few coins are classified in the classifications register. There classification detail is also subject to confirmation by the competent subject expert. For example S. No. 1 Accession No. 315 shows 24421 silver coins and medals. All the coins and medals are unclassified and unidentified. There is every possibility of easy exchange and easy replacement of rare coins by common ones."

The collection of thousands of rare coins has not been cataloged so far, thus making the collection prone to theft by the officials and burglars.

The storage of coins is unscientific and insecure. Most of them have developed rust due to poor preservation and scores have been kept in unsafe cotton cloth and century old bags. These torn bags have been kept in lockers.

During the physical verification, the concerned officials lamented at what they called "the unfortunate state of affairs" in the department. "The classification register that was provided to the physical verification committee does not seem to be the original because it is without pagination, attestation by the competent authority, and the weight of no coin is recorded on the register," the report reads.

The classification registers before 1980 were not shown to the probe committee comprising then assistant director Archives Jammu, Peerzada M Ashraf; Conservator Assistant Dogra Art Museum (Jammu), Kirpal Singh; and Peer Muhammad Iqbal, the then store keeper of the Museum.

The committee, however, has not recommended any course of action to recover these coins. All they recommended is how to preserve the priceless treasure by their proper cataloging, weighing, identification of genuine coins, procurement of coin coffers and fire proof lockers, chemicals for their preservation, and the services of numismatic experts for proper and attractive display of these coins.


Coins shaped like guitar

Name: Alok Kumar Goyal Age: 44 years
Claim to fame: Collecting coins is this software consultant's passion. His collection — spanning three decades — includes not just coins used across the globe but also special commemorative ones. He has lost count of the number of coins he has.
The quantity is matched by quality. Goyal has 62 sets of Republic India (which focus on developmental issues and leaders like Gandhi and Netaji), coloured coins from across the globe and coins to commemorate international women's year, international children's year and the first world science conference in India. The value of the rare coins is over Rs 40,000 each.
Early start: Goyal began collecting coins as a child. "My father used to get the special collections from the Reserve Bank of India. That's how I developed my interest," he says. He constantly keeps in touch with fellow collectors and mints to learn about the new coins in the market.
"I spend my free time on the Internet, trying to find out about new coins and exchange extra coins for the ones I don't have," says Goyal. His latest acquisitions are coloured coins in various shapes and sizes. He has coins from the US shaped like guitars, motorcycles, fishes and butterflies.
"Coloured coins are a rage now but India does not produce such coins," he says, showing off his new cat coin collection from the UK.
Business sense: "Coins are good investments in India. After the mint stops producing a collectors' edition coin, its value can double in three months," says Goyal, who spends between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 every month to expand his collection.
One of his favourites is the silver-coloured series depicting Queen Elizabeth II at different stages of her life. Another coin he likes was produced by Somali Republic to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi. It depicts the three monkeys. Among Goyal's prized possession is a set that Princess Diana brought to India. It contains coins etched with an image of her and Mother Teresa and of her holding baby Prince William.
Other uses: Goyal is using his coin collection to teach his two sons about places and people. "I give them a coin and ask them to gather information about the place it is from or the people it is commemorating. This keeps the boys interested."

Silver coins worth weight in gold

The Queen presented Maundy Money to 82 men and 82 women yesterday at the Church of Ireland's St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh city.
  • Present-day Maundy coins consist of silver one, two, three and four-penny pieces.
  • Maundy Money has always been legal tender and in the 19th century sets were available to the general public.
  • Since 1909, however, the coins have been given only to Maundy recipients and, in lieu of fees, to officials and others who take part in the annual service, including each choirboy.
  • The Maundy coins have been minted each year since 1971 as decimal coins and are now the only silver coinage issued.
  • The coins carry the young head of the sovereign for the entire duration of their reign.
  • The number of men and women receiving Maundy Money each equals the age of the sovereign during the year.
  • Each recipient will receive 82p in Maundy coins, newly minted Sterling silver coins worth much more than their face value.
  • The recipients have been selected from the four main denominations in Northern Ireland in recognition of their work for their church and community.
  • The ceremony traces its origin to the Last Supper when, as St John recorded, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
  • Afterwards, Jesus gave the disciples a command or "mandatum" - the Latin word from which Maundy is derived - to love one another.
  • Dating from about 600AD, the ceremony originally involved the king, queen or their representative washing the feet of the poor.
  • The Queen is not expected to wash the pensioners' feet but a historical relic of the church service is that nosegays or posies of strong-smelling flowers or herbs are still carried in the royal procession, a reminder of when the bad odour of the feet of the poor would need disguising.
  • "Bad" King John, according to the Roll of the Wardrobe Expenses, gave money to the poor on Maundy Thursday; in 1212, at Rochester, 13 paupers each received 13 pence.
  • By the early 14th century, it had become customary for the sovereign to provide a meal, together with gifts of food and clothing.


Rising price of precious metals spurs the buying and selling of coins

By Charlie Mathews
MANITOWOC — Gold fever has hit Jim Lukes.
He's putting in 14-hour days at his downtown coin and stamp shop where the phone never seems to stop ringing while he tries to wait on several customers at a time.
"I tell people, 'you may own gold but don't be owned by it,'" said Lukes, who's bought and sold the precious metal since 1977.
Earlier this month, gold briefly cracked the $1,000 an ounce barrier, and the price is up about $300 compared to a year ago.
Blame — or credit — goes to a weakening U.S. dollar, with gold a traditional inflation hedge. "Gold should be just part of a good investment portfolio," said Lukes.
He buys and sells U.S. government minted American Eagle gold coins, acceptable as legal tender for purchases, in $5, $10, $25 and $50 denominations.
The selling price on Wednesday was $105 for the one-tenth ounce coin, $255 for a quarter-ounce $10 piece, $500 for a half-ounce coin, and $990 for the one-ounce $50 coin.
Lukes explained the U.S. Treasury sells the American Eagles to 13 hand-picked suppliers.
"The public can't buy directly from the Mint, nor me," he said. "I have to buy from one of these built-in middlemen, worse still."
He said his supply of gold coins is at the mercy of the public, "who I like buying from to save shipping costs," the suppliers, "who are never generous or lenient no matter which way the price is going," and other dealers with whom he trades.
"You don't have to be authorized to sell gold, so when there is a gold rush, the charlatans and crooks pop up," Lukes said. He blasts the individuals who blow into town, set up a shop at a local hotel, "buy from the good citizens and get the heck out.
"Whereas, the local guy has been around for 31 years and has to keep his nose clean because people know where he is," said Lukes, from his store at 815 Jay St. Lukes said the heightened interest in gold does have a positive impact on his business, despite a minimal profit margin.
He said individuals may revive or begin a coin or stamp collecting hobby. Lukes then has the opportunity to make his livelihood buying and selling rare items.
'Rough times' good for Dan Zirk Owner of Manitowoc Card & Coin, 3519 Custer St., Dan Zirk also has been busy in recent weeks, but mostly with silver.
"This is Manitowoc and we're not a rich town," said Zirk, with silver currently selling for about $19 an ounce, up about 40 percent from $13.50 a year ago. In business for 21 years, Zirk said he'll leave stocking gold coins to Lukes.
"Like gold, some people are investing in silver as part of their portfolio, as opposed to putting money into the stock market, which many think will tank," Zirk said.
He believes many individuals like the "physical feel" of their precious metal investment, the ability to touch the gold and silver. "It's been that way for thousands of years," Zirk said.
He said he makes a minimal profit on escalating gold and silver prices, and also generates more revenue off collector coins.
Zirk has had a surge in customers bringing in gold wedding bands and necklaces that he weighs, prices out, and sells to another dealer who eventually ships the items to a smelter.
"When gold and silver go up, people sometimes sell things they don't want to sell, like a pile of silver dollars from their grandma," Zirk said. "But they may need to make a house payment. When times get rough, it's good for me."
Charlie Mathews: (920) 686-2969 or cmathews@htrnews.com
Source: USA Today and Encyclopedia Brittanica

Dollar coins can be worth a mint

By Terry Maurer, What's it Worth?

Q. I have seven of these silver dollars, each has a date of 1922. Some have a mint mark "S," others have no mint mark at all. I know these probably are collectible. My question is: Has the recent jump in the price of silver made them all the more valuable? -- Martin in West Richland

A. A timely and interesting question.

For decades, coins and stamps have been said to be the No. 1 and No. 2 collecting hobby in America. Some reports say there are more coin collectors (numismatists); some say more stamp collectors (philatelists). Whichever, there are a lot of each.

To coin collectors, American silver dollars are near the top in interest.

Congress authorized the silver dollar in 1792 and the U.S. Mint issued the first silver dollar coins in 1794. These rarely are found today, as are most of the dollar coins up until the 1840 "Seated Liberty" series of coins.

Most commonly seen in the collectors' market are the "Liberty Head" or "Morgan" dollar, issued between 1878 and 1921 (there was a break between 1904 and 1921). Some of those coins, especially low-production dates from the mint at Carson City, Nev., are now worth thousands of dollars. We've included a photo of an 1894 Morgan dollar in today's What's It Worth for reference.

Martin's silver dollar is from the "Peace Dollar" series, which was issued between 1921 and 1935. As a coin, they have historically ranged in value from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on mint mark, number made, condition and other factors.

Your question about the recent explosion in the price of "spot silver" -- the daily value of the metal -- strikes to the heart of what currently has the collectible coin market in something of a tumult.

Just a few years ago, when silver was $7 or $8 an ounce, your coins would have been worth more as collectible items than for the value of the silver they contain. In the 2001 Official Red Book: a Guide Book of United States Coins your dollars -- in extremely fine condition -- were valued at $11 each.

Today, a 1922 "S" mint mark Peace dollar, in extremely fine condition, will set you back $20 or so at an Internet store -- plus shipping.

The big difference is the value of the silver in the coin. Your dollar is 90 percent silver. Silver specialists use a multiplier to determine how much the silver in the dollar is worth at the current price of silver bullion. They call it the "melt value."

We're told you multiply the price of silver by .76 and the result is (approximately) the value of the coin if it were melted down and the silver retrieved.

As last week ended, the world market price of silver was hovering near $20 an ounce. Twenty multiplied by .76 is about $15 (give or take, I was never all that great at math).
So, the silver alone in your coin is worth about $15, then you add a premium for the coin itself and -- yes, the value of your coins has been affected by the price of silver. Pretty dramatically so.

Will they be worth more next week or next year? Stay tuned, the market always fluctuates.
And be careful -- there are plenty of U.S. dollar coins you might find in your purse or pocket that contain no silver at all.

Most Eisenhower dollars, and all Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea dollar coins have no silver. A few Eisenhower coins were issued by the Mint as "silver-clad" coins celebrating the Bicentennial in 1976.

Anthony's and Sacajawea's are composition coins. The Anthony dollars are copper and nickel and the Sacajawea dollars have a pure copper core with an outer layer of magnesium brass.

Circulated coins like those are worth about $1 each.

CBC to issue presidential commemorative coins

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is planning to issue coins to commemorate the inauguration of the country's 12th president and vice president, CBC Governor Perng Fai-nan said yesterday.

Speaking at the Legislative Yuan, Perng said the CBC is following precedent with its issue of commemorative coins to mark the inauguration of the nation's popularly-elected leaders.

Perng said the new coins have already been designed and will be issued on May 20 when Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Siew are inaugurated as the 12th president and vice president of the nation. He did not say how many sets of coins the central bank will issue on that day.

In May 1996, the CBC issued 2,500 sets of commemorative silver coins to mark the inauguration of Lee Teng-hui and Lien Chan as the ninth president and vice president of the nation. At the time, the cost of the coins was NT$20,000 (about US$650) per set.
The CBC also issued similar commemorative silver coins in 2000 to mark the inauguration of Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu as the 10th president an vice president of the nation.


Antique Coins Collecting for Fun & Profit

By James Ross

You only have to look at how busy the coins section is on Ebay to know that coin collecting is an incredibly popular activity. It's one of the most popular hobbies around and one of the most profitable too.

Finding coins to collect is easy but finding ones that are actually valuable to collect is the challenge faced by most collectors. As a rule of thumb, the older the coins is the more collectible it becomes as often they are more rare than more modern coins.

The best place to find Antique coins include auction houses, coin shows, coin fairs and malls. But if you are more serious you should visit historical sites where antique coins are more likely to be found. You should bear in mind that the value of Antique coins depends on where it from as well as the age and historical background of its origin. Therefore buying at the historical location gives you a very good advantage over other collectors.

There are a few other pointers you might want to consider when buying an antique coin.
Firstly make sure the coin you wish to purchase is original. This goes without saying but there are many replicas and even counterfeit coins flooding the market, so close inspection to validate their authenticity is a must.

When you start off your coin collecting hobby, start slowly if you are on a low budget. Then as your portfolio of coins increases in value you could re-sell some of it at a profit and buy more valuable ones. If you find a coin that you think is a valuable addition to your collection make sure that you find an appraiser that can determine the value so that you do not get ripped off. So don't try to value it yourself unless you are quite experienced, and seek the help of professionals when the circumstances dictate like when the coin is quite expensive.
You need to specialize when you start collecting Antique coins so choose one particular era or country to focus on. This will make it easier for you to become an expert. You must also take good care of the coins to ensure you preserve their appearance and thus their value. And be careful not to clean Antique coins to excess otherwise you might actually depreciate their value.

Coin collecting can really be a source of great fun and taking it up as a hobby is probably one of the best decision you can make. As long as you remain patient it will be a long term hobby bringing you plenty of satisfaction for years to come as well as a very profitable investment.

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Joining a Coin Club

By: Nicholas Tan

People engage in social activities for many reasons; most common is sharing in the same interest and passion as other people. It is in places like these that information about a certain subject is shared and new ideas and trends are revealed that keep its members up to date with current events that happen in that club.

A coin collection club is the same. Since the number of people who have been doing coin collecting has increased over the years, the vast network involves numerous clubs in several states. In these clubs amateurs and professionals can share, trade and bid for new items to add to their existing collections.

There is never a wrong time to join a club. The challenging part is looking for one. You can start by asking the local coin dealer for help.

Some coin clubs can even be found on the internet and they will require that a membership fee be paid. Coin clubs often can also be found in the newspaper especially when events are advertised that invite the public to come and visit the exhibit.

If a person is still having a hard time finding a coin club then inquire at the local library or the Chamber of Commerce as they may be able help provide information.

One benefit of being a member is that it is easier to find someone who will buy coins at a good price. Or perhaps other members may want to part with some of their coins in exchange (called bartering) for other coins. Most local coin stores only have a limited selection that is available for trading.

Another benefit of becoming a member is obtain articles which feature a certain coin collection or discover better ways of caring for a collection. The club also informs its members about upcoming events so the individual can plan ahead to be able to attend the events.

Coin clubs are formed so that everyone who loves coins can have fun. This means that it is not only for those who have a collection at home; it is open to novices, experienced collectors who have done it for years, as well as coin experts They build a network that enable collectors to assist others. To become a member of a club just find a suitable one and join the fun!


Coin Collecting Album: a Pocket for your Coins?

By Nicholas Tan

For every numismatist or coin collector, finding a good place to store their coins is the most important thing in this world because storing their precious coins in a good and secure place will ensure that the quality and value of their coins is maintained...

There are many types of storage spaces that can help you by displaying and storing your coins. You can either use folders, holders, plastic tubes, or the album, but among these reliable storage spaces, the coin collecting albums are the best way to display the coins.

If you want to know why, here are some benefits of albums and you can evaluate the concept from there:

1. Two-way image viewing

With coin collecting albums, you can get more satisfaction viewing your collections because albums let you see both sides of your coins. You do not have to remove your coins every time you want to see the opposite side.

Therefore, albums give you the best of both worlds.

2. Better defense against instant wear

Another benefit of albums over folders and other coin storage is that it gives the coins better defense against harmful elements that will expedite the deterioration of the coins.

Albums are generally characterized by the use of plastic materials that serve as shield against scratches and environmental factors.

3. Good coin holder

Albums provide pockets for coin storage. The best thing about using a pocket is that even "dilapidated" coins or extremely worn coins are better protected.

Worn out coins, when placed in folders, have the infuriating tendency of falling out over and over again. With coin collecting albums they are kept intact.

4. Variation in prices

Albums that are used in coin collecting are usually priced from $20 to $40. Even though they can be expensive, they provide better storage for your most-prized treasures. Paying the price for an album is a great alternative to the other typical types of storage.

5. Information center

Coin collecting albums are great "information centers" as far as the hobby is concerned because most of the albums that are used in collecting coins have an inside front cover that allows you to place important information regarding your collection. It also has a back cover that provides space for your "mintage figures."

Coin collecting is easier and more pleasant with the help of these albums. It makes your treasures last longer, thus, establishing greater value in them.

Therefore, coin collecting albums are definitely the best "keepers" for your coins.

Design Types of US Coins and Coin Collecting

By Nicholas Tan

Coin collecting is a fun hobby that anyone who has the time can do. A coin's history and its development can be learned by collecting them.

At one point in time, between 1838 and1933, the United States issued gold coins for circulation. The Liberty Head bust was used as the design until 1907. The design was then changed to the Indian Head and Saint Gaudens motifs until 1933 when the "Great Depression" started. This prompted the recall of the coins which makes it very rare to find any of them today.

The most valuable coin in the world is the 1933 Double Eagle. This was a $20 gold coin that was made in the 1800's after the California gold rush. This coin was not allowed to be used in the 1930's and when this coin was auctioned in 2002, it sold for nearly eight million dollars.

Since gold coins are hard to find, most collectors select other coins.

One type of collection you might consider is the one made up of coins that are flawed when the coin was minted. If you can find a coin with a misspelled word, a wrong date, off-center characteristics, or double-punched marks, these coins are valuable. Such mistakes can increase a coin's value from $50 to a $1000.

Coins that were only issued or circulated for short period of time also make good collectibles.

A coin collection is at its best if it is focused on a certain coin. A collector can choose from pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars.

Another way of collecting is disregarding the types of coins but concentrating on a certain time period. Coins have different mint marks and collecting those that were struck in the same location can also be interesting. The important thing for hobbyists is to stick to the collection until it has been completed.

For a good start subscribe to a coin publication such as Coin World or Coinage Magazine for information on the types of coins that you might want to collect. The internet or a local coin shop can also help expand the search for those coins that can't be found in your locale or out of state.

Building a coin collection will take a long time - months or even years. The United States has produced so many coins that it is hard to keep track of them. By deciding on the coin(s) you want to collect, the challenge to complete that collection begins.


Why is a Coin Grading Service Important?

By Nicholas Tan

Coin collecting has been a very popular hobby to many people of all ages. The marketing of coins has expanded widely and because of this wide the market prices of coins has varied immensely.

Before, the coin market was limited to a small number of collectors and dealers. At that time coins were priced in simpler terms. Since the market has expanded, dealers have been very inconsistent with the prices they set for the coins so that became the time when the need for a standard scale arose. That is where the coin grading service entered the scene.

Coin grading services are able to provide services that determine the standard practices so important in marketing. Any collector who sees the wide market of coins will see the importance of a grading service. There are unscrupulous dealers that over grade the coins that they sell and collectors need to be aware of this.

Coin grading services have standard scales for every coin available on the market. One benefit grading provides, is that coins will be assessed fairly and accurately. Antique coins and rare ones will be scaled depending on their origin, quality and the purpose for which they were released.

A coin collector may need to use a coin grading service when buying a coin so that he is able to check the authenticity of the coin and if the coin is priced fairly. Sellers, on the other hand, use the grading service to check if they can generate income based on the price they have set on the specific coin. This practice will also ensure that the prices dealers set are not too high and are close to the actual value of the coin.

Many collectors are victims of fraud - especially when buying rare coins. A grading service will ensure that the coin is not a counterfeit one and this will prevent fraud in every negotiation.

Coins values often change through time. The grading service will ensure that the coin will have the updated price set for it; or determine if a coin's value has depreciated, depending on factors like deterioration of the appearance of the coin.

Some of the credible grading services are the PCGS, PCI, Anacs and the NGC. These services have very good records and are known to provide valuable and helpful services to consumers with consistent and accurate results in grading.

They seldom (or never) have been reported to be over grading. They are also known for their expertise in checking the authenticity of a coin with accuracy. Other important factors are also considered by these services such as detecting any marks and problems with the coins and adjustments in the dates and mintmarks. Coin grading services are also able to detect if there was toning, cleaning and repair that were made on the coins that were graded.

Coin grading services can also help if there is fraud and/or illegal activities being practiced by dealers. They have hotline numbers available so that consumers can call and report any illegal act. This helps to ensure that consumers are safe.

Grading services can also guarantee the authenticity of the coin. Services like the ones offered by PCGS, grading is done by at least three experts in accordance with the standards set in their policies. If a consumer thinks that his coin over-graded, he can return the coin and have it re-graded to ensure that all information given was fair and accurate.

Coin grading services provide guarantees of their grades, and unlike dealers, they do not provide this benefit. Dealers are only able to provide opinions on grades, they are unable to guarantee them.

As coin collectors, people need to ensure that they receive a fair for coins – whether buying or selling. Grading services are there to help and assist these collectors and the collectors need to be aware of the benefits of grading services so that they do not rely on opinions given by dealers.

When choosing a grading service, you must always check the credibility of that service. This may be done by checking the Internet to verify information regarding a certain coin grading service. Awareness is a very important factor needed to ensure safety among coin collectors.

Coin Collecting Auctions: Bane or Boon?

By Nicholas Tan

If you are a coin collector who wants to sell or buy coins, one good way to do it is through coin auctions or bidding.

Coin auctions provide the best ways to obtain coins that have remarkable values. Coin auctions are the primary source of rare coins because most rare coin collectors want to sell their treasures to the highest bidder.

Unlike the typical way of selling and buying coins, coin auctions entail some rules and regulations for both the bidder and the seller that they must adhere to.

Basically, there are three types of coin collecting auctions. These are:

1. Auctions through mail bidding

In this type of coin auction, the seller will advertise and publish coin auctions through the mail. This is highly beneficial for people who want to participate in the activity but cannot attend the event personally.

Usually, the seller has a mailing list available and it is used to send catalogs that contain the descriptions and pictures of the item(s) to be sold. At times it may contain the starting bid amount and other pertinent information.

The seller's mailing list, the catalogs, or brochures are sent out to the potential bidders. These lists may also be sent to those who have purchased from them in the past.

2. Phone auctions

These auctions are conducted by phone. Just like the mail bidding, phone auctions must observe the rules and regulations that are to be followed.

Once the highest bid is identified, the item goes to the winner. However, there are some instances when people may ask the seller for an approximate selling price but the rules still remain the same, no disclosure of previous bids.

3. Online coin auctions

This type of auction is popular because when bidding on a particular coin the bidder is able to see what the coin looks like. Greater interaction between the seller and the buyer may also be achieved as the seller can instantly contact the bidder for important information.

The only drawback to this kind of coin auction is that through the Internet, others can deceive a coin collector into believing that what they see on the screen is exactly the same item that they are bidding on.

All of these things can provide you with the best ways of obtaining the best coins available on the market. Just try to stick to your bidding budget.


Coin Collecting as a Hobby

By Nicholas Tan

Most people engage in different activities that they consider hobbies. When people consider a particular activity as a hobby, it means that people find that activity pleasurable in that they enjoy collecting different kinds of coins.

In this context, it does not necessarily follow that the coin collector will focus more on the monetary value of the coins. When the focus of coin collecting delves more into the monetary value of the coins than the gratification the collector obtains, it is no longer deemed a hobby but an investment.

History tells us that the main reason other generations collected coins was the value that coins would someday attain. The ancient form of coin collecting was even labeled a hobby "fit for the kings" because ancient coins were so valuable that only the kings were capable of collecting them.

Today's coin collection is no longer limited to the "kings" or the affluent. Anyone can now consider coin collecting as his or her hobby. The popularity of coin collecting continues to flourish as more and more people collect coins. That is why it is now known as the "King of Hobbies".

Why Such Popularity

One of the many reasons coin collecting is considered by many as one of the most popular hobbies in the world is based on its ease of access.

When somebody wants to start coin collecting, he can start any time, anywhere. Some people start coin collecting with the coins that they have in their pockets. This phase of coin collecting is known as the "accumulator" stage, where collectors try to accumulate as many coins as they can often using their "pocket change".

After the collector gets the "hang of" accumulating coins, the hobby becomes more expensive. This is because true hobbyists are willing to pay the price as long as a particular coin will enhance their collection and will beauty to their "masterpiece". And the rest, as they say, is history.

Coin collecting as hobby is a pleasurable activity that any person can use to create a feeling of gratification..

The Pros and Cons of Auction Sales

By Nicholas Tan

In a coin collection, the most difficult part is how to find the coins for the collection. A collector's main method of acquiring coins is by buying them. The most common alternative in acquiring a coin is through purchase in auction sales.

Rare coins and those that are of high quality are very difficult to buy. Auction sales whether online or at auction houses provide coin buyers the option to acquire these types of coins at lower prices. Online auction sales usually take 3 to 4 months to process depending on how fast bidders can decide on their bids or when the bidding process closes.

No matter how popular auction sales have become to many collectors, it is still important to know the advantages and disadvantages they can provide to coin collectors. Here are some points must to be considered before buying in auction sales.


1. Auction sales provide simpler negotiations, and is the simplest way of buying coins for a collection. This is because of the set price that is reserved for the coin. It is easier to weigh options and estimate the price of the coin.

2. Auction sales include a bidding process. Buyers will only need to bid to the price they are willing to pay for a specific coin. This means that a coin will be acquired within the allotted budget of the buyer. If a buyer really likes a coin, then he can bid a higher price so that there is a higher possibility of winning the bid.

3. There is also a chance of getting the item if the buyer who won the bid was not accepted for some reason. This may also happen when the price that was reserved for the coin was not met. When this happens, the item for bidding is usually passed. This means that the item will not be sold and the bidding will be re-opened any time soon.

4. Contracts are involved in the bidding process. Once a buyer wins a bid for a specific coin, contracts will be exchanged immediately between the successful bidder and the seller. This will ensure that the negotiation was completed and the bid price of the item is confirmed.

5. The person who has the highest bid may be allowed to make a deposit payment. This will ensure that the item will be reserved for the person who won the bid. Deposits may be a fraction of the whole amount of the coin.


1. When buying in online auction sales, there is a higher chance of fraud. This is because the negotiation is done online. The buyer does not see the person who is selling the item or know if the other bidders are real people who are actually bidding for the item.

2. There also times when the item that was displayed on the website before the bid is not the same item as the one that was delivered to the person who won the bid. It is recommended that the buyer should ensure that the very same item that he bid for is the one that will be delivered to him.

3. The reserved price of the item may also cause some disadvantages. There are times when the reserved price that was set on the item is higher than what the buyer expected. This will force the buyer to bid higher and exceed the budget they have allotted for the item.

4. Online auctions cannot ensure the buyers that what they are bidding for a genuine item. The buyers will only be able to inspect the coin once they have won the bid and the item is delivered to him. This may lead to fraud and the buyer ends up regretting that he bid for the item.

Auction sales may be popular but it is still strongly but be advised that buyers need to be aware of the pros and cons of this option. Buyers also must be familiar with their rights as consumers and buyers. Other options may also be considered before choosing the auction sale option in acquiring coins for collection.

Collectors may consider buying from friends or agents that they know but if they still would like to buy in auction sales, they need to make sure that the website or the auction house has no record of illegal activities. Buyers should also spend some time reading reviews about the sellers to make certain that they are dealing with credible people.

The Basics of Coin Collecting

By: Nicholas Tan

Coin collecting is said to be the "Hobby of the Kings." Coin collecting is different from money hoarding. Collecting coins as an art form can be traced back to the 14th century. Today, people all over the world are collecting coins. Some collect it for their value, some just like the sheer fun that they get from getting their hands on different coins.

If one is interested in making coin collecting a hobby, he can very well do so. It is a hobby which does not require a certain skill and it can be done by almost everyone.

There are many different kinds of coin collectors. There are those who do it for fun, and others do in a more serious manner.

Informal coin collecting

Most coin collectors, especially the children, start out as informal coin collectors. They are laid-back collectors which do not have a specific goal in collecting coins. They might collect coins from different countries or from different time periods without any intention of being serious about it.

Inquisitive coin collecting

Once the informal coin collector starts noticing the details of the coins, he becomes an inquisitive coin collector. This kind of coin collector won't bother much into spending money to get coins. He merely wants to appreciate the coins. Soon, he will start to put them in containers or albums.

Advanced coin collecting

An advanced coin collector will collect coins with a specific target in mind. He may want to collect coins from a certain nation, or a certain time period.

There are many tracks which coin collectors pursue when engaging in their hobby. Here are some of the ways one can use in collecting coins:

Coin collection according to nation

Many coin collectors would want to collect coins from a certain nation during a certain period of time. This kind of coin collection lets the collector travel the globe through the coins. People may want to collect coins from countries they had visited.

Historical coin collection

Another way of collecting coins is by taking in mind history. Many coin collectors engage in collecting coins during a certain period in history like wars or declarations of independence.

Error coins

There are people who find collecting coins with errors exciting because these kinds of coins are rare nowadays.

There are many ways to collect coins and each way is as fun as the other. One must feel the hobby first before he decides whether to stick with it or not. Coin collecting can require certain amounts of money and the collector must be wise in engaging in such a hobby.

New Euro 2 commemorative coin chosen - by you!

A Europe-wide online poll to select a design for a commemorative Euro 2 coin has chosen a design by Greek sculptor George Stamatopoulos. His design symbolises the currency as the latest step in a long history of trade within and outside Europe. The winning design will be on 90 million coins minted and put into circulation next year to mark the 10th anniversary of the completion of economic and monetary union (EMU).

The winning design got 40% of the 141,000 votes cast between 31 January and 22 February.

2nd Europe wide Euro 2 special coin

The new coin will be the second commemorative coin to be issued across the whole euro zone. The first, also a €2 coin, marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 2007.

Each member of the 15-member euro zone can issue one commemorative €2 coin a year. So far nine countries have done so.

The euro is also used in Vatican City, San Marino and Monaco. Given their relative scarcity coins from these states are much sought after by collectors.

Slovakia next in line

Slovakia is expected to join the euro next, as the beginning of 2009. A new country will bring new euros to be collected.

District Submits Quarter Design Proposals

By Martin Austermuhle

Barring any unwelcome intrusions, sometime in 2009 the U.S. Mint could roll out an official D.C. quarter bearing the city's slogan, "Taxation Without Representation," to great fanfare. But considering that unwelcome intrusions are part and parcel of living in the District, we're not yet holding our breath.

Yesterday Mayor Adrian Fenty formally submitted the District's three proposals for its own quarter to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, arguing in a memo that the voting rights message accurately reflected the mission of the 50 State Quarters program. While all three suggested designs would feature the "Taxation Without Representation" slogan, one bears the stars and bars of the District's flag, another the image of abolitionist and inventor Benjamin Banneker, and a third the image of legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington. In a memo to Paulson, Stephanie D. Scott, the Liaison to the U.S. Mint for the District, stressed the importance of the voting rights message for the District's quarter:
"As the phrases 'In God we Trust' and 'Out of Many, One' have come to symbolize us all as Americans, 'Taxation Without Representation' has become an enduring representation of the District of Columbia...[It] stands as an apolitical and non-partisan motto; a declarative and defining fact about the District of Columbia."
But whether the final quarter will actually bear the message is ultimately up to the U.S. Mint -- which already expressed discomfort with the voting rights theme -- and Paulson. According to the U.S. Mint's own guidelines for the seven-step process, Paulson will eventually have to sign off on the design, but only after the U.S. Mint, "at its discretion," produces one or more designs for each proposal while focusing on "aesthetic beauty, historical accuracy, appropriateness and coinability." Even before it gets to Paulson, who could summarily reject the design, the District faces a U.S. Mint that seems to think that voting rights is just too controversial a subject for a coin.
We're proud of the three submissions; any of them will reflect our city well. Now we just have to make sure that one of our proposals become reality -- and that we don't get stuck with a D.C. quarter bearing the Washington Monument.

Biltmore Trading sees an opportunity in the U.S. Rare coin market.

Phoenix, AZ ( Livepr )- February 27. 2008 - Many independent reports say some of the highest rates of long term appreciation of investment portfolios have been found in the U.S. rare coin market.

U.S. rare coins ( http://www.biltmoretradingaaagold.com/ ) are an ideal diversification vehicle for the wise and cautious individual who wishes to obtain a hedge against the ravages of inflation as well as the security and peace of mind of long term performance during nearly all economic environments.

Jim Cicerelli CEO of Biltmore Trading AAA Gold ( http://www.biltmoretradingaaagold.com/ ) agrees: "Although past performance is no guarantee of future results the trend is likely to continue based upon the growing demands for coins and the fact that the supply of high quality coins is small and can never be increased".

No other collectible can offer the high liquidity of a properly certified U.S. rare coin. The market is so liquid that they can be sold sight-unseen world wide with a telephone call. U.S. rare coins are one of the few remaining investments that can be collected privately. Because of the high degree of liquidity and the physical possession of coins by the customer, coins are very attractive to investors who care about maintaining their privacy and avoiding the possibility of confiscation of assets by the federal Government.

Jim Circerelli notes "premium quality rare coins are still affordable to the private investor". They have an outstanding track record and a promising future for the large and small investor. Independent organizations have been created for the purpose of grading coins. The grading standards and practices of PCGS and NGC have been universally accepted throughout the rare coin industry. These services neither buy nor sell rare coins, but only evaluate them, thus there is no conflict in interest. These services stand by their grading with a money back guarantee.

About Biltmore Trading AAA Gold, Inc.

Biltmore Trading AAA Gold ( http://www.biltmoretradingaaagold.com/ ), Inc. is a full service precious metals dealer with over 50 years experience in metals, currencies and financials. We have a technical strategy, which will help you get the maximum returns on your investments. We are the most competitive in price and quality when it comes to gold coins, precious metals or bullion. Biltmore aids in the diversification of investments. Whether its stock, 401k, dollars, ira, rollovers, we help build wealth.

Jim Circerelli
Biltmore Trading AAA Gold, Inc.
515 E Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85012


NASA Approved Collectible Space Coin Collection

Discovery Collectibles, an exclusive creator of rare coin lines focusing on space exploration and discovery, today announced the release of a highly limited collection of 10 brilliant silver nickel uncirculated coins celebrating the work of NASA and the amazing odyssey of the Hubble Space Telescope.

This first collection of 10 coins focuses on the eight planets in our solar system. This commemorative coin (http://www.nasacoins.com/theCollection.html) collection includes an extremely rare Pluto coin, the last Pluto-Hubble coin approved by NASA before the planet was decommissioned in 2006. It also includes a remarkable Sun coin, striking in its powerful, kinetic design.

Inspired by the "NASA and JPL 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act" which authorizes the US Mint to produce a $50 gold coin with an image of the Sun and nine $1 silver coins each representing one of the nine planets in our solar system, Discovery Collectibles worked with NASA to create a coin line that complements the anniversary and celebrates one of the agency's greatest accomplishments in the [Hubble Telescope.

"Minting coins is a distinctive way to honor 50 years of dedicated service by the men and women of JPL and NASA," said Representative Adam Schiff, who was a co- sponsor of the Act.

Only 1000 complete sets of the HST Discovery Collection have been minted worldwide. According to NASA a total of 30 designs in all have approved which will focus on Hubble Discoveries in deep space and some of the new coins will also include material from deep space as well. One of the coins in the following set will include pieces of meteorite and flown metal from NASA spacecraft.

All the coins in the current and future HST Discovery Collection were hand designed by sculptor Alex Shagin, a Russian born designer who was awarded the fabled American Numismatic Society J. Sanford Saltus Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of the Medal in 1995. Mr. Shagin's work is displayed in some of the world's greatest museums such as the National Air and Space Museum, the Hermitage Museum and the British Museum Permanent Numismatic Collection.

About Discovery Collectibles

Discovery Collectibles creates only very limited quantities of coins and collectible objects and had focused on niche collecting opportunities in the space and science sector. Located in Los Angeles, California, Discovery Collectibles also owns NASACOINS.COM where you can find their most recent product lines. "We create art in small quantities for a passionate group of collectors who love space exploration as much as we do." said Garret Cheves, DCI's CEO, "We are the science and space geeks of the coin collecting (http://www.nasacoins.com) world. Our enthusiasm to create unique and valuable collections comes from our personal interests so we come by it honestly!"

For more information on the NASA collectible coin collection (http://www.nasacoins.com) visit: http://www.nasacoins.com .

Coin Collecting and Investing Tactics for Future Profits

While coin collecting is a fun and enjoyable hobby for most of us, there is no reason it can't be a profitable endeavor also with a well thought out plan. If you are just starting your collection or advancing to the serious money stage lets consider these facts before taking the plunge.
The key dates and semi-keys of any series have out preformed the common dates in all grades in the past and there is no fundamental reason for that to change in the future. The market for these scarce low mintage coins is driven by supply and demand and new collectors coming into the market should keep the demand strong and healthy. On the other side of the coin, no pun intended. If you are going to spend money buying coins for your collection, why not buy key and semi-keys with more potential value appreciation in the future? The investment theory here is that the coins will have to be held for a period of time, maybe years before a profit can be realized.
Should one buy slabbed or raw coins? Keep in mind there are fake coins on the market, especially expensive key date coins. Set a limit that you are willing to pay for a raw coin and don't go over it. When buying coins graded by one of the major grading services, ANACS, ICG, NGC and PCGS you can pretty much be assured the coin is genuine and the assigned grade is close to correct. Don't buy coins graded by inferior or less known grading services. Note: I have seen slabbed coins that have changed in color and toning from when they were originally graded due to improper storage over time.
Buy from a well established dealer so that you can return the coin in the event that you are not happy with your purchase. Expect to pay close to the current book value for problem free key-dates and semi-keys. If the asking price sounds too good to be true it probably is. There are no bargain basement prices to be found, simply because the demand is so strong for these coins. In most cases the dealer had to pay top price himself and is unwilling or unable to discount the coin.
Major coin shows are a good place to find a wide variety of the coins that you are looking for under one roof with knowledgeable dealers from all over the country. Internet auctions are risky at best, especially when buying raw coins. Be very cautious because a lot of the sellers don't know how to grade coins, much less know if the coin is a fake. They state in their write up description of the coin something to the effect, "We are not coin graders you grade using the pictures or the scans we have provided." The sad part is the Companies running these auctions make big bucks from the listing fees, final value fees etc., yet they take no responsibility for what is being sold to the buyer and they don't do anything to stop the sellers from selling coins under these circumstances. Avoid this type of auction completely.
Learn to grade the coins that you are interested in before you buy the coins! The ANA (American Numismatic Association) publishes a good book on coin grading called ANA Grading Standards. Buy the book. Many books and articles have been written by experts on coin grading and are available for specific coin series. Remember coin grading is not an exact science it is a subjective matter that is why it is important that you become a knowledgeable grader yourself.
Any type of investing carries risk and the rare coin market is no different than other markets in that respect. The coin market can be and is very volatile at times. You could loose your money or not make any money at all. You should never invest more money than you can afford to loose. No one can look into a magic crystal ball and predict the future. If that was true we would all be multi-millionaires!

CoinNews Introduces Free Publishing Service for Numismatic Contributors

CoinNews, an online source for coin news, numismatic articles and coin collector services, has unveiled a new publishing service for anyone interested in contributing numismatic content through its site.

The service is available to journalists, companies needing to relay information and events, banknote or coin dealers, collectors or anyone who has a numismatic related story they want others to read. For those inexperienced in writing, the service extends to helping in the development of articles through editorial and writing guidance.

"The audience for numismatic content is vast and under served," said CoinNews owner Mike Unser. "The intent of our publishing service is to augment the amount and variety of articles for readers and provide a free and open outlet for contributors."

According to Unser, some of the best numismatic articles originate from local collectors, banknote or coin dealers, smaller shows and everyday collecting experiences. A CoinNews goal with their publishing service is to break barriers and open channels for those who have a story to tell but are unfamiliar with numismatic media and distribution outlets.

"Too many times great stories simply go unreported or are only shared in small group conversations," Unser commented. "Our service can help new, even one time contributors come forward and bring their experiences to the surface so other numismatists can enjoy them."

CoinNews has made the submission process simple and easy. Anyone who would like to contribute numismatic content or submit articles can visit the CoinNews website at http://www.CoinNews.net and select 'Contribute' from the 'Information' menu.

The CoinNews publishing service is free. A simple click through agreement is used to ascertain origination and ownership rights. Submitters retain appropriate copyright, are given complete credit and are free to promote their material elsewhere once published on CoinNews.

About CoinNews:
CoinNews is an online resource for the very latest in coin news, numismatic articles, information and coin collector services. Today, CoinNews readers come from 129 different countries to read its unique brand of conversational news and articles. In addition, CoinNews users can view live bullion spots, watch numismatic videos and use numismatic calculators that include the Silver Coin Calculator (http://www.coinnews.net/tools/automated-silver-coin-valuator/), Rate of Return Calculator (http://www.coinnews.net/tools/rate-of-return-ror-coin-calculator/) and Inflation Calculator (http://www.coinnews.net/tools/cpi-inflation-calculator/).


World Proof Numismatic Assocition's 43rd Anniversary Master pricelist #21 available.

World Proof Numismatic Association was established in 1964 by Edward J. Moschetti. The purpose of the club was to bring together numismatic collectors from all over the world interested in proof coinage. Currently W.P.N.A. has members from all over the world with some 51 Directors all sharing a mutual interst.

W.P.N.A. issued a club publication titled "Proof Collectors Corner". The publicatin is full of interesting features including the latest coin releases as well as the history and education on old, new as well as counterfeit coins. The publication is printed in English and sent to all members. Containing not only the afore memtioned news but a variety of new as well as old coin issued to the membership at a special membership price.

Members are allowed to advertise free of charge any and all coins they wish to sell or swap with other members.

Our Master Pricelist is published once a year, currently our latest is #21 having some 56 pages featuring both proof abd BU coins in the form of sets , crowns as well as bas metal coins including pieforts, patterns, fantasy, bullion as well as educational books on all coins for the membership.

Membership in W.P.N.A. is $15.00 per year for Regular, $10 for Juniors per year and $15.00 per year for other organizations, libraries etc. Complimentary information is available by writing to: W.P.N.A. P.O. Box 4094, Pittsburgh, PA 15201-0094 U.S.A.

Canadian Mint Issues First 2008 Olympic 25-Cent Coin


The Royal Canadian Mint Wednesday officially released the first Olympic 25-cent circulation coin of 2008, which depicts the sport of snowboarding. It's the sixth of 17 circulation coins for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
About 22 million 25-cent snowboarding coins will enter into circulation Wednesday and will be available exclusively at RBC, a Premier National Partner, and Petro-Canada gas stations. Petro-Canada is a National Partner of the Vancouver 2010 Games.
Participating Petro-Canada gas stations will also sell snowboarding sport cards containing a "uniquely" painted version of the coin, according to a media release.
The snowboarding coin was designed by Canadian artist Glenn Green of Vancouver and features a snowboarder in the centre, a stylized maple leaf, and the words "Vancouver 2010". The obverse features the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
There will be four more Olympic Winter Games themed circulation coins in 2008; three 25-cent coins will feature freestyle skiing, figure skating and bobsleigh, while the 2008 "Lucky Loonie" will be launched July 23, just ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
According to the media release the Mint is also offering a sterling silver collector version of the snowboarding coin featuring a "stunning" hologram.
The coins can be purchased through the Royal Canadian Mint's website at www.mint.ca.

Bulgaria National Bank issues new commemorative coin

On February 20 2008, Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) showcased a new silver coin, issued in commemoration of the 130th anniversary of the liberation of Bulgaria, the BNB said in a news release.

The coin, with a nominal value of 10 leva and mintage of 10,000 pieces, will be put in circulation on February 21. The coin will be sold for 44 leva at the cash desk of the BNB, the central bank said.

It was presented at an official ceremony with BNB governor Ivan Iskrov and Minister of Culture Stefan Danailov, who also chairs a national committee in charge of national holiday festivities, in attendance.

The reverse of the coin features a Russian soldier and a Bulgarian volunteer from the Shipka Monument to pay tribute to the dead in the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78, after which Bulgaria won autonomy from the Ottoman Empire.

Elena Todorova and Ivan Todorov were authors of the design and Georgi Markov acted as the consultant of the project, BNB said.

700 Years Without Coins for Romania

By Bob Reis, World Coin News

We were discussing the interactions of the Roman empire with the people living in what is now Romania. The Romans called them Dacians during the empire, the place Dacia. The Romans thought they had interests to protect in Macedonia, and saw the Dacians as a threat to those interests. The Dacians did not knuckle under. The Romans went up there and fought them over many years in several different major campaigns, beat them, colonized the coast and the near-coastal hinterland and stayed for centuries until the pressure of migrants from the northeast forced them to abandon their attempt to govern the region.

The coastal zone was substantially secured during the reign of Augustus and the territory organized as Moesia in 6 A.D.

Contained in Moesia were the coastal towns of Callatis, Tomis and Istros with their centuries of coin issues. Through the 1st century BCE those towns had issued copper municipal coins from time to time, and those occasional issues continued under the Romans. Tomis made more than the others, starting with Augustus and continuing for more than two centuries. Callatis started imperial coinage with Nero. Istrian coinage was very sparse and ended with Gordian III. Tomian coins are all scarce; Callatian and Istrian are scarcer still.

Back in the mountains, the Dacians brooded and fretted on their lost territory, occasionally crossing the frontier to wreck and steal things. They mounted a large invasion in 86 CE during the reign of Domitian. The Romans drove them back eventually and then they divided the province of Moesia into Superior and Inferior parts. The positional references refer to their relation to the Danube: Superior was upriver in what is now Serbia mostly with some Bulgaria; Inferior was downriver in Romania. The hinterland remained Dacia and Dacian.

Moesia Superior was closer to the Roman center of gravity and the Romans did considerably more business there than up in Inferior. The Dacians didn't make much distinction between the two and preyed upon either as opportunity provided. Trajan became emperor in 97 CE and resolved to do something about the unsatisfactory security in the Moesiae. He invaded Dacia (exact date uncertain) and defeated their forces in 101 CE. A peace treaty was apparently violated by the Dacians three years later and Trajan responded by besieging and eventually destroying the Dacian capital, taking the Dacian king's head back to Rome.

The Dacian treasury was legendary. Trajan brought it home to Rome where it was coined into Roman money in great profusion. There were gold mines in Dacia as well. The conquest of Dacia was considered a stroke of great good fortune, and was announced on the coinage for years after.

Trajan's coinage was complex and voluminous. Of course Dacia was mentioned in his actual titles, so that your average metropolitan Trajan coin will have DAC in the obverse legend. It shows up, or its Greek equivalent, on more than a few colonial coins as well. There is a series of Dacian conquest commemoratives in all metals, gold, silver and copper. Various events and aspects of the Dacian campaign are illustrated. Here the empreror is riding down a Dacian warrior. There is the bridge he had built across the Danube, the longest in the world for over 1,000 years after. Victory inscribes VIC DAC on a shield. Dacians male and female sit and weep. And there is the column he had erected in Rome to commemorate the conquest.

The Dacian conquest commemoratives come in gold, silver, and various sizes of copper. As a class they are not uncommon. There is, realistically, no limit to the cost of all the varieties.

Back in Dacia there was peace for a while but the war had been very expensive and development (colonization) was underfunded. Trajan got involved in another war of conquest in Jordan, and there were ongoing problems with Parthia. Parthia was what got Trajan at the end. On campaign in the east he got sick and died on the way home.

There were Goths and Celts in Dacia and more coming, Goths at least, all the time. Seeing what had happened to the Dacians kind of gave the "barbarians" an us-or-them attitude about the Romans. Dacia the province was rather loosely held in its northern regions, and Moesia Inferior for that matter as well. The tenuous nature of Roman administration is perhaps reflected in the sporadic coinage. There was none at all in Dacia until the time of Philip the Arab in the mid third century CE, and it ends with Gallienus a couple of decades later. Moderately scarce coins, all of them. And not so well made, the usual situation with the "Greek Imperial" series. And usually badly preserved. And worn.

The Roman empire was in a state of more or less permanent military and economic emergency from the mid-third century on. In Dacia the Goths became very numerous and bellicose. In 275 CE the Roman emperor Aurelian, pressed elsewhere, decided that prudence demanded the withdrawl of the Roman troops and administrators, leaving the civilian population to fend for itself. The Goths formed a kingdom and evidently governed tolerably well. They did not make official coinage, but there are an awful lot of small imitations of third century Roman coins in base metal from Dacia. Probably Goth.

Romans held on in Moesia Inferior for another century. They lost it in 376 CE. The Goths had been assaulted by the Huns and appealed to Roman emperor Valens for refuge in Moesia. Granted, but then the Goths didn't like the way they were treated and took up arms. The Roman forces sent by the emperor Valens were defeated. That was the end of Roman Moesia.

I don't know about you, but when I think "Roman Empire" I think of the second century map. Roman ring all the way around the Mediterranean, France, western Germany, Britain, Syria, half of Iraq. That all dissolved, leaving little Roman islands here and there, and then they evaporated, leaving ruins, the newcomers dismantling the ruins for building material. The northern zone, including the proto-Romania of our current interest, was confusingly overrun by numerous different groups of nomads and migrants. Goths who split into Ostrogoths and Visigoths, Avars, Huns, later Bulgars and Slavs.

Rome the city became the capital of a German kingdom, the capital of the empire was Constantinople. The emperors, we call them Byzantine from 491 CE on, mostly dealt with the Goths up in Romania by paying them off in gold solidi, hiring them for soldiers and occasionally performing some military activity up the Black Sea coast in defense of their trading outpost in Cherson.

If you look at the maps in Sear's Byzantine Coins and their Values you will see that most of "Romania" was considered to be Byzantine (Roman) territory through the 12th century, but that was probably an overstatement most of the time.

Since there were imitations of Roman coins made in late third century CE Dacia there were probably imitations made in the fourth and fifth centuries too. Such "barbarous" coins are common, but mostly they can't be placed to a region by physical characteristics and we don't know exactly where they were found. They made them in the west too, and down in Syria. Difficult series, people are doing attributions around the edges, no major reference yet that I know of.

Imitations were made of sixth and seventh century Byzantine coins too, but evidently not so many, and perhaps hardly at all in "Romania." I go looking for Byzantine imitations online and I find a few coppers, none described as coming from somewhere in particular. There are imitation gold coins too (not to mention modern fakes). Often there is a fine line to be drawn. How crude does a Byzantine coin have to be to be called barbarous?

So did the people in "Romania" make imitation coins in the 6th through, oh, 10th century CE? Probably, but don't know for sure.

The Bulgars formed a kingdom in Ukraine in the seventh century and from there descended into Romania and further south. There were some Byzantine looking coppers struck in the 10th century, pretty rare, not known to be found in Romania. Bulgarian silver coins of the 13th century are fairly common, but they are neighbor coins, possibly used in old Romania, but not from there.

Well, what about Islamic coins in the "dark ages?" You know, Abassid and Samanid silver coins found on the amber and fur routes up into Poland and Russia all the way to Sweden. Mayber there were some that made it up to Romania. I googled "Islamic coins in Romania" and found this gem: The Byzantine Empire and the Territories North of the Danube by Ernest Oberländer-Târnoveanu, Romanian National History Museum; Bucharest; Romania (undated).

Oberlander-Tarnoveanu mentions a "complete moneyless period" before 650 CE, when "massive payments of silver hexagrammata" were made to some local "kingdoms" in Moldavia and Wallachia. One (me) assumes that those Byzantine hexagrams were protection money of some kind, and one supposes that the protection purchased was rather minor else the payment would have been in gold. Copper, he opines, traveled with small traders, and he states that the latest Byzantine coppers found in his country were coined by Constantine (V), 741-775, he who vanquished and destroyed the first Bulgarian kingdom.

He writes that Byzantine coins dating from the 730s to the ninth century are very rare in Romania. During that period, evidently, nothing much happened. Byzantine coins started showing up again in the reign of Theophilus, 829-42 and there presence grew over the next century or so. That was a period of fitful war between Byzantium, Bulgaria, and Kievan Rus.' Troops had to be paid.

Then there was a period in the 11th century, after the Byzantine emperor Basil II had destroyed the second Bulgarian kingdom, when some of the Romanian territory on the Black Sea coast was once again for a time under direct Byzantine control and Byzantine coins of that emperor are found with greater frequency.

He specifically states that there are no Islamic hoards at all from the eighth and ninth centuries and very few from the 10th and 11th, all in Moldavia.

What all that seems to add up to is that there were no coins made in Romanian territory from the fifth century to at least the 12th. That's about 700 years. And several centuries in which apparently no coins were used.

No trade?

This discussion of "Moldavia" and "Wallachia" is technically a bit cart-before-horse. There was, obviously, more than a little reconfiguring of political geography from ancient to medieval times. During this sub-Byzantine period the old regions of Dacia and Moesia became obsolete, but the newer zones of Moldavia, and Wallachia had not yet taken shape. They emerged as political entities in the 14th century. That was after the Mongol invasion. Moldavia and Wallachia struck their own coins, so there is something for the numismatists to do. I'll discuss them next time.

Please get in touch with comments, corrections, information, or pictures for upcoming articles. My addresses: POB 26303 Raleigh NC 27611, email: reisbiz@earthlink.net.

Iran and Britain team up on “Sassanid Coins”

Tehran Times Art Desk
TEHRAN –- The first volume of the book entitled "Sassanid Coins" will be published in the near future in a collaborative effort by Iran's National Museum and the British Museum.
Iran's National Museum's Curator of Coins Marzieh Elaheh Asgari and the Curator of Islamic and Iranian Coins at the British Museum Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis studied more than 5000 coins which are on display at the two museums.

The two-volume work on Sassanid coins will be published according to a Memorandum of Understanding which was concluded between the museums 10 years ago.

Since the designs on the coins feature the political, social and cultural conditions prevailing in the Sassanid era, their details have been analyzed precisely in these volumes which form a good work of reference for scholars.

The second volume of the work is due to be published next summer.